Welcome to the pride and joy of the Commonwealth as it hosts the "Greatest two minutes in sports." An annual event that attracts people from all across the world as they make their way to the "horse capitol of the world" to bet on the ponies.
If you're new to this thing, I'll debunk my joke and inform you they aren't actually ponies, they're Thoroughbreds. They're three-year-old Thoroughbreds that run a Grade I stakes race at a distance of one and a quarter miles (2.0 km) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The build up surrounding the race is a three day event, starting with 'Thurby' on Thursday, May 5th, the 'Kentucky Oaks' on Friday, May 6th, and then the 'Kentucky Derby' on Saturday, May 7th.
Live coverage of the event will be held on NBC at 2:30 p.m. eastern time, with the race starting at 6:57 p.m.
35 facts about the Kentucky Derby
Nineteen past winners have had names beginning with the letter "S," including Secretariat.
The amount of food consumed at the Derby is pretty astounding. On average, spectators will eat 142,000 hot dogs, 18,000 barbecue sandwiches, 13,800 pounds of beef, 32,400 jumbo shrimp, 9,000 scallops, 8,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 cookies and 300,000 strawberries.
Only three horses raced in the 1892 Kentucky Derby.
It makes up one third of the coveted Triple Crown along with the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes.
The traditional drink of the Derby is the mint julep, and over 120,000 are said to be consumed at the race each year.
The Kentucky Derby trophy only weighs 3.5 lbs.
The youngest jockey to win the esteemed race, Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton, was just 15 come derby day in 1892. Bill Shoemaker continues to hold the title as the oldest winner; he was 54 when he took home the 1986 title.
Bill Shoemaker has also ridden the most Kentucky Derby horses (26) in history.
The record low temperature at the race (held on the first week of May every year) was 47 degrees in 1935 and 1957. The record high was 94 degrees in 1959.
Churchill Downs founder and president Col. M. Lewis Clark might have made the rose the official flower of the race after attending an 1883 post-derby partywhere socialite E. Berry Wall was handing the flower out to the ladies in attendance.
The Derby is also referred to as 'The Run for the Roses' because the winner is awarded a blanket sewn with over 400 roses post-race. This blanket weighs about 40 lbs.
Post No. 1 has become known as "the dreaded rail" due to its tendency to leave horses boxed in behind other racers, making it difficult to pull away from the pack.
1919 champion Sir Barton was the first Triple Crown winner, however he hadn't won a race before arriving at the Derby.
All thoroughbred race horses have the same birthday—January 1. No matter what day a horse was born on during the year, race horse age is marked from New Year's Day in order to make it easier to keep track of bloodlines.
Only 3 year old horses are allowed to compete in the Kentucky Derby.
The Derby has never been cancelled or postponed due to inclement weather.
The Derby has only been held on a day other than the first Saturday in May twice—once in 1945, when a wartime ban on horse racing postponed the event, and a second time in 2020 when the race was delayed until September by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The historic 1¼-mile race was originally 1½ miles before the current distance was established in 1896.
The Kentucky Derby was started by Lewis Clark Jr.—grandson of William Clark, half of the famous explorer duo Lewis and Clark—after he saw England's Epsom Derby.
Only three fillies (female horses) have won the Derby: Regret in 1915, Genuine Risk in 1980, and Winning Colors in 1988.
The 2018 event set the record for the wettest Kentucky Derby in history, with 3.15 inches of rainfall according to the National Weather Service.
The race was first televised in 1952.
The current purse for the Derby is $3 million, with the winner taking home $1.86 million, $600,000 for second place, $300,000 for third place, $150,000 for fourth place, and $90,000 for fifth.
In 2019, for the first time in the Derby's history, the horse that crossed the finish line first didn't win. The horse that ran the track fastest, Maximum Security, was disqualified for impeding another horse, resulting in the second-place finisher, Country House, being moved up to the winner's circle.
Secretariat remains the fastest horse in Kentucky Derby history. His 1973 record time of 1:59.40 has never been broken.
The slowest winning time, on the other hand, is credited to the 1891 winner, Kingman, who took 2:52.25 to complete the the 1.5 miles.
More winning horses have come from Kentucky than any other state in the country.
Fact #29 comes as no surprise considering the state's expertise in the field. In fact, the thoroughbred industry is one of Kentucky's largest economic sectors.
The 2015 derby drew the largest crowd in the event's history with 170,500 spectators in attendance.
The first ever Kentucky Derby was won by jockey Oliver Lewis.
Only one Triple Crown winner, Halma, has ever sired another Tripe Crown winner, Omaha.
Starting posts #5 and #10 have proved to be the luckiest—riders assigned to those posts have won more times than any of the other starting lanes.
Churchill Downs Racetrack was not the official name of the track until 1928.
* Facts brought to you by townandcountrymag.com.
Now, time to become a degenerate gambler and put some money down on some horses. Here are the official odds of each horse running in the 148th version of The Kentucky Derby.
KENTUCKY DERBY 148 Horses & Odds
1 Mo Donegal 8-1 odds
2 Happy Jack 21-1 odds
3 Epicenter 5-1 odds
4 Summer Is Tomorrow 42-1 odds
5 Smile Happy 14-1 odds
6 Messier 7-1 odds
7 Crown Pride (JPN) 17-1 odds
8 Charge It 13-1 odds
9 Tiz the Bomb 25-1 odds
10 Zandon 8-1 odds
11 Pioneer of Medina 47-1 odds
12 Taiba 5-1 odds
13 Simplification 40-1 odds
14 Barber Road 40-1 odds
15 White Abarrio 11-1 odds
16 Cyberknife 14-1 odds
17 Classic Causeway 67-1 odds
18 Tawny Port 67-1 odds
19 Zozos 39-1 odds
20 Ethereal Road SCR
21 Rich Strike 99-1 odds
22 Rattle N Roll SCR
You might already be at The Kentucky Derby watching the races since earlier this morning, or you could be at home watching them through your TV. If none of those, you could just now be tuning in - anyways, it doesn't matter, here is the official schedule for the entire day.
2022 Derby Day Schedule
Race 1 - 10:30 a.m.
Race 2 - 11:01 a.m.
Race 3 - 11:31 a.m. (NBCSN Coverage Begins at 12:00 p.m.)
Race 4 - 12:04 p.m.
Race 5 - Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes at 12:36 p.m.
Race 6 - Knicks Go Overnight S. presented by L&N Federal Credit Union at 1:14 p.m.
Race 7 - Pat Day Mile S. presented by LG&E and KU at 1:56 p.m. (NBC Coverage Begins at 2:30 p.m.)
Race 8 - Derby City Distaff S. presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery at 2:48 p.m.
Race 9 - American Turf S. presented by BMW at 3:40 p.m.
Race 10 - Churchill Downs S. presented by Ford at 4:31 p.m.
Race 11 - Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes at 5:27 p.m.
Watch the Track as the Kentucky Derby Contenders and their Connections walk from their barn to the Paddock, in preparation for the Kentucky Derby Race Approximately 6:09 p.m. Listen for the "Riders Up" call as the jockey's are instructed to mount their horses, and take to the track.Approximately 6:37pmSing "My Old Kentucky Home" with fellow Kentucky Derby FansApproximately 6:39pm
Race 12 - The Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve at 6:57 p.m.
Cheer as the Kentucky Derby Winning Horse is draped with a Garland of Roses and the Winning Connections are presented with the Kentucky Derby Trophy. Immediately following the Kentucky Derby Race Champagne Spray in the Kentucky Derby Winner's Circle Approximately 7:15 p.m.
Race 13 - 7:55 p.m.
Race 14 - 8:30 p.m. If this is your first year ever watching, I hope it's everything you thought it would be. The state of Kentucky is truly "horse country" as many horses across this state often have better living conditions than some of the people that live in it. The horse racing industry is just as important as the Bourbon industry, ranking them both right up there with basketball. The three pillars of the Commonwealth are our pride and joy, and we take them all very seriously. It's often interesting to see who has grown up in which world of those three, but all come off just as unique as the next one.
After all that has been said, welcome to Derby Day. Grab your drink, tune in and I hope your favorite horse wins.